IPTV crackdown: Premier League stream shutdown results in fine of £21,000 and football blackout for thousands

a hand points a remote control at a tv with a blurred image on-screen

Streamers who watched Premier League matches on the BestBuy IPTV streaming service for £40 will now be unable to tune-in as Vietnamese police have shutdown the entire operation

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 30/04/2024

- 04:01

BestBuy IPTV offered access to 10,000 paid-for channels from 38 countries

  • Illicit streaming service unlocked access to all Premier League matches
  • Viewers were charged just £40 ($49.99) a year for unlimited streams
  • Owner has been fined £21,000 in latest bust
  • 900,000 customers now face a total blackout from BestBuy IPTV service

Police have dismantled a popular illicit streaming service that broadcast Premier League matches to 900,000 people worldwide, including those based in the UK and Europe. Operated from Hanoi, the service was known as BestBuy IPTV and offered access to all televised Premier League matches for as little as £40 per year.

Not only that, BestBuy IPTV bundled some 10,000 paid-for channels from across the globe, with everything from blockbuster films and TV shows available from the illicit streamer.

Internet-Protocol Television, better known as IPTV, refers to the technology that enables linear television to be distributed over the internet, instead of traditional terrestrial, satellite, or cable formats. BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Sky Glass and Sky Stream, as well as the incoming Freely service are all examples of IPTV.

There's nothing illegal about watching live television over the internet — although it's a common misconception that streaming services, like Netflix, offering live broadcasts are exempt from the £169.50 TV licence fee.

However, the term IPTV is regularly co-opted by illegal streamers offering access to premium content from Sky TV, HBO, Disney+, and Netflix at a lower price tag without paying royalties to the copyright-holders. Needless to say, services that leverage IPTV technology to stream paid-for content, like Premier League matches exclusive to Sky Sports and TNT Sports in the UK, via unofficial broadcasts like BestBuy IPTV are always against the law.

Vietnamese law enforcement shuttered the BestBuy IPTV streaming service — cutting off 900,000 paying customers who used the service to illicitly watch Premier League fixtures. The owner Le Hai Nam received a suspended 30-month prison sentence and was told to pay fines totalling over £21,000.

According to a report by the US Trade Representative published last year, “BestBuy IPTV offers illicit IPTV channels from broadcasters globally, and it is compatible with most platforms and operating systems.”

Subscribers to BestBuy IPTV could access some 10,000 paid-for channels from 38 countries, including Premier League matches, for an annual fee of £40 or $49.99. Le Hai Nam's empire spanned 12,000 resellers worldwide and required 2,000 re-streamers to keep the most popular broadcasts online for his 900,000 customers.

If every customer was paying the full £40 annual fee, Le Hai Nam was bringing in £36,000,000 per year.

Speaking about the dangers of illicit streaming services — like BestBuy IPTV, Detective Chief Inspector Emma Warbey, from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police warned: "Illegal streaming is a huge issue for the industry and while it may seem like a low-risk, high-reward crime, the proceeds are used to fund other serious forms of criminal activity.

"At the same time, it can expose end users to the risks of data theft, fraud and malware. By targeting grassroots sellers, we are sending out a clear message that this will not be tolerated.

"PIPCU will continue to work with partners across law enforcement and the industry to take action against those who provide illegal streaming services and protect consumers against the risks associated with using them."

The closure of BestBuy IPTV marked the first time that Vietnam had issued a criminal sentence for online copyright infringement.


"The defendant has violated the provisions of the law which protect the copyright and related rights of the Motion Picture Association's members and the English Premier League," said Judge Le Hai Yen of the Hanoi People's Court. "[Such crimes are] a danger to society and needed to be strictly enforced and prosecuted. [The case should] serve as a deterrent to others."

Premier League General Counsel Kevin Plumb reacted to the news, stating: “This result should serve as a stark warning to anyone involved in the illegal supply of Premier League streams in Vietnam.”

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